FAQs about Burrfishes, Porcupinefishes Disease
FAQs on Burrfish Disease:
Burrfish Disease 1, Burrfish Disease 2, Burrfish Disease 3, Burrfish Disease 4,
Burrfish Disease 5, Burrfish
Burrfish Disease Disease by Category:
Related Articles: Burrfishes/Porcupinefishes, Puffers in General, Puffer Care and
Information, A Saltwater Puffer Primer:
Big Pufferfish! by Mike Maddox, Pufferfish Dentistry By Kelly Jedlicki and Anthony Calfo,
True Puffers, Freshwater Puffers,
Related FAQs: Diodontids 1, Diodontids 2, Diodontids 3, Burrfish Identification, Burrfish Behavior, Burrfish Compatibility, Burrfish Selection, Burrfish Systems, Burrfish Feeding, Burrfish Reproduction, Puffers in General, Puffer Selection, Puffer Behavior, Puffer Systems, Puffer Feeding, Puffer Disease, Puffer Dentistry, Puffer
Reproduction, True Puffers,
Brackish Puffers, Tobies/Sharpnose
Umm; water quality? Tankmate issues? Feeding, nutrition
Oh yes: READING!
Porcupine puffer emergency
Hi, I have a huge question...I have a porcupine puffer and I've had her for
14 years...she stops eating for days every once in a while.
<Not to worry; this is a "natural behavior". Please see here re:
Normal . my problem now is she hasn't eaten for a week, did a water change
thinking it was due which it was, 150 gallon nitrates 40 normal for her tank
no ammonia salinity 1.023 . I know she is old I'm worried maybe she
lockjaw, her mouth won't close all the way ,
<Yikes; not good>
but when I look inside it looks like something maybe stuck in there, she
gets clams in shells, etc. I do feed her frozen krill but not everyday, she
gets a lot of diff things....
I tried tube feeding her but she isn't having it, and it looks soft in her
moth like something blocked...hard to describe, here is a pic best I can
<Please read the above link AND:
I WOULD supplement any offered foods AND the water directly as gone over...
Re: Porcupine puffer emergency
So, I've read everything you said, and had already read that or knew
it....she is still not eating and I have tried to force feed her and it all
just comes back out...it's almost as if it is a soft bubble in her
<This fleshy bit in your pic is natural... Sometimes puffers just DO refuse
food... for weeks. This specimen doesn't appear overly thin. I would NOT
handle/force feed the specimen (too stressful), but instead soak grass,
ghost shrimp, smallish crayfish or such in a feeding supplement (HUFAs,
Vitamins) as SeaChem's Appevite>
like she puffed up and some part inside her mouth won't deflate,
<Again; this is part of the puffers anatomy>
I'm attaching the best pic I can get. It's been like at least 2 weeks of no
eating :( I think she knows what I'm trying to do when I get the tube and
stick it in her mouth because she lets me do it but she can't bite down on
it and she does not puff up ever when I try. The "bubble" is across her
whole mouth inside ...I've even tried a turkey baster and she open her mouth
really wide and let's me do it, then closed it all the way but then it goes
back to half open...and again she doesn't puff up so that's what's
getting me thinking she can't deflate inside somehow??
<More likely a B vitamin deficiency syndrome>
She had puffed up right before all this started im thinking now, for no
apparent reason which is how she always puffed up when she did.im very
stressed and with her being 14 years old, I think I'm stressing her out
<Yes to the added stress>
Porcupine Puffer... hlth., nutr. 7/6/16
Hi - Im hoping you can help me with my little buddy. I have a porcupine
puffer in my tank at work. I believe it is a 100 gallon tank. We have
the puffer, a blue tang (aggressive) a small clown fish and a small
damsel. Recently, my boss decided he wanted to add some fish to the
tank. I was against it as I just saved the puffers life months prior and
had to feed him with a syringe as he got lock jaw from a diet of
freeze dried krill only. That is what our prior tank people who we
bought him from told us was to be his only diet.
After reading on the forums and through Google I determined a varied
diet best so I make him a chutney of shrimp, mussels, clams, silversides
and some clam juice for vitamins. Questioning the silversides after
doing some reading.
<You should. Try other whole marine fishes or fillets. Oh, and good
pellets; like Hikari and Spectrum brand; soaking foods in a supplement
like SeaChem's "Vitality">
He was doing fine until the new butterfly fish and foxface were
A couple of weeks later the butterfly fish was missing and the tank
smelled like rotten fish. I found the butterfly fish and removed him. He
just happened to be under a rock that the puffer prefers to stay under.
The next day I noticed the puffers eyes covered in a white film. I
called our tank people and suggested a water change and requested help
for his eyes. They treated the tank with ACI tetracycline and tried
giving him a dose of Dr G's antibacterial RX food which he spit back
out. The other fish look fine so far and the puffer doesn't seem to have
white spots that I can tell. If he does they are very tiny but he does
seems to have stringy threads here and there coming from the top of his
<Any chance to sample these and look under a 'scope? Might be
Trematodes... I'd treat w/ Prazi/quantel>
One eye looks better today but the other is worse. Much whiter with a
spot in the middle. Breathing seems fine for now but hasn't eaten for 3
Is this ich or a bacterial or parasitic infection and what can I do to
<Can't tell what from the description>
He has hidden under the rock from the day we bought him. We have had him
almost a year. He doesn't seem to like being around the other fish. He
is very tame now and comes out twice daily like clockwork to greet me
until this happened.
Im assuming adding the new fish to tank may have been enough to stress
him and the butterfly fish dying didn't help.
<And perhaps introduced a pathogen inadvertently>
I worked diligently to save this little guys life once. Im upset this
has happened. Can you help? SO appreciative!
<A well-resolved pic would help... I'd look for the Prazi. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer 7/7/16
Thanks so much for responding. I do not have the means to look at a
sample under a microscope.
<Ahh; perhaps a fish store nearby can be of assistance; or an aquatic
vet., learning institution...>
Puffer looks better today. Foggy eyes not completely gone but every day
they seem better. People who clean the tank treated water with
API/Tetracycline and are now pulling it out via carbon system and are
going to try something called Sulfaplex for bacterial and fungal
infections. Are you familiar with Sulfaplex? Would the Prazi be
<Am familiar... not a fan of Sulfa drugs in marine systems. PLEASE learn
to use WWM. The search tool, indices. Praziquantel is a vermifuge...
sulfas are antimicrobials...>
Could the dead butterfly fish in the tank for several days have caused
puffer to get sick?
He didn't seem to exhibit the symptoms of excess ammonia though.
I have read that bad mussels/clams can cause Trematodes.
I buy puffers clams & mussels at Publix Supermarket. Wondering if I got
a bad batch. Tank people also put a live oyster in tank a couple of
weeks ago and problem started soon after. I noticed they took it out
it have had a parasite?
Lastly - I feed the other fish Spectrum but the puffer doesn't go for it
so I mix it in the chutney I give him and he eats it fine that way.
When you say feed "other whole marine fish/fillets" what type of fish
are you referring to that would be better for than Silversides?
<... WWM. BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer 7/7/16
Can you tell me why you are not a fan of Sulfaplex?
<.... rarely efficacious in water treatments w/ marines>
I tried doing a search on it at wetwebmedia.com and it connects me to
directly to Amazon.
<? Sulfa drugs:
People that service our tank want to use Sulfaplex today.
Puffer eating a little better. Eyes a little better but still slightly
foggy but he has a very fine salting of white spots on body.
<READ on WWM re Diodontids, Crypt.... Don't write: READ>
They have done 2 water changes, treated water with API and pulled the
API back out following day for a couple days. Another water change today
and they want to add some Sulfaplex.
Porcupine puffer having a bad week
<Why seven MEGS of pix files, WHY?>
I wish I was writing under happier circumstances but unfortunately my poor
puffer has had a very rough week and I find myself looking to you guys for
To start, I've had him roughly 6 months. No illnesses to mention. My water
parameters in his new solitary 55gal hospital tank are:
<This all is fine>
This problems all started 5 days ago when he was attacked by my (now
rehomed) Dardanus Megistos. He nearly lost his entire right fin and had
some other surface cuts. I'll include photos at the bottom for reference.
He seemed to be alright for the days following the attack, normal
behaviour, swimming, resting, eating, breathing normal so I left him in the
main tank with his buddies. Well three days in I noticed the cowfish
picking at his wound and decided to set up a hospital tank for him to
recover in peace. His new home is bare bones. Glass bottom. One fake log
cave. Air stone. Powerhead. Heater. Side filter. One of those 'all
included' kits from the store jobs. I set it up with 35% water from the
main tank and the rest fresh mix, like a big water change. He's been in
there 24hours at this time. He's been fed once and he accepted it normally.
My main concern is his breathing appears to be very laboured. Mouth open.
Almost gasping. At a slight inclined angle, not sitting on the ground. At
first I thought the side filter wasn't providing enough aeration so I put
in the air stone to bump it up but he hasn't improved. I see no visible
sign of illness on his body but he appears to be hiccupping? When I
transferred him to his new tank I ushered him into a juice jug and to my
knowledge, never let him come in contact with the air. He did partly puff
for a brief second while in the jug but he quickly let it out and never
puffed again since.
Would you be concerned about this laboured breathing?
<Only a bit... likely still recovering from the Hermit and Hovercraft fish
What about treating his injuries?
<Oh; yes; the reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPuffTraumaF.htm
Your advice is very much appreciated!!
I included a video, hopefully you're able to view it.
<Henceforth, PLEASE store someplace (e.g. YouTube) and just send along the
Your biggest fan,
<There's something there. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week
Thank you very much for your quick reply. I'll keep my eye on him and watch
for infections. I've also blocked off my intakes a little better after
reading those pages you linked me. Preventative measures!
<Perhaps a bit of Epsom>
Your site is truly amazing. The FAQs on Marine Treatment Tanks was
everything I needed and more to make this possible!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Porcupine puffer having a bad week
Good evening Bob,
<Good morrow now here Renee>
Just a quick follow up for you. The puffer took about a week to acclimatize to
his new home.
<Mmm; about right>
He is loving his new digs! All his dead spines and skin shed off by week three.
His fin joint took exactly a month to become useful, begin undulating properly
again, and over the last three days his fin has made impressive gains in size!
I'd expect it to be entirely healed in less than two weeks. What an incredible
thing to witness. Why can't we regrow our parts? Haha
<Some day soon>
Thanks again for everything you and your amazing team provide!
Porcupine Puffer Collapsed Eye?
Hello, just stumbled onto this site as I was frantically searching for an
answer to my problem. 2 days ago I noticed my Porcupine Puffer laying at
the bottom of my tank breathing hard. I have moved the little guy into a
separate tank and that's where he's been since then. He has not taken any
food no matter how hard I try to get him to eat. I've been stumped as to
what is causing this, today I noticed his eyes seem to have collapsed?
been browsing the internet to see what could be causing this but I have
to find anything. I've tried taking a picture but it isn't clear from the
picture what is going on with his eyes. Normally his eyes, the outer
"shell" looks like this, ). Looking at his eyes now only a tiny bit of the
center protrudes out, everything else is flat. There also seems to be
nothing wrong with the muscles in his eye as he is able to pull off all
regular eye movements. His eyes have also lost that glittery sheen to them
and his pupil is no longer circular in shape, instead it resembles a seed.
I'm going to keep looking to see what is going on but I was wondering if
maybe one of you have seen this kind of situation before?
<Yes.... need data... what other life is in this system? What do you feed?
What changes recently? Water quality tests.... See WWM re other Diodontid
health issues to gain an idea of the sorts of information we're looking
for. Bob Fenner>>
If so, what
should I do, and will he ever recover? The only thing of importance that
happened before I discovered my puffer laying at the bottom of my main
was a water and filter clean/change 2 days prior. Thanks for your time.
Re: Porcupine Puffer Collapsed Eye?
<Is there a full moon? 4.5 megs of uncropped pic>
Hello again, thanks for your quick response, my main tank after water
change parameters are Nitrites at 0-5.0 PPM, pH is 8.0, and Salinity is at
1.026. Other fish in this tank are a Blue Tang and a Comet Wrasse.
<All this is fine>
parameters for the Q tank that Puffer is in are comparable to my main
I feed the puffer a mix of cuttlefish, Krill, and Clams.
<Bingo... search on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning. BobF>
Usually he can't
stop eating but he hasn't taken anything for the past 2 days. I've also
managed to take a clear photo of whats happening to his eyes and have
Porcupine Puffer Lost Sight In Left Eye. Nutr. def. f'
We have had our Porcupine Puffer since he was a baby. He is about 6 mos. old and
was eating shrimp.
<Ummm; not a good diet. Have you read on WWM re Thiaminase poisoning?
Please do so>
Just recently he has had trouble eating food
<I can see where this is going... again>
and was freaking out every time we would try and feed him. He also started
having trouble seeing the food.
He now seems to be blind in his left eye.
The water quality is fine and he is the only fish in this tank. Is there
anything we can give him to reverse the blindness? He is not really eating at
all now because he can't see it well.
<Please read here:
and the linked files where you'll lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer Lost Sight In Left Eye 8/5/15
Thank you for replying so quickly.
He was a finicky eater from the start and wouldn't eat anything else.
I tried to follow your link, but is there any way to reverse this before he is
<Keep reading. BobF>
Porcupine puffer - holes in skin
I've noticed what looks like tiny holes on the porcupine puffer.
<Oh! Yes; looks to be... are these Flukes, Trematodes? Maybe
aggregated body mucus... from? Perhaps Protozoans>
It looked a bit like ich, treated with eSHa Oodinex (ethacridine
lactate, proflavine, malachite green, Methylene blue). It
worked, ich disappeared, and it's been fine for a month now. But
now i was feeding it and noticed what looks like scars? from
ich. Its doing fine otherwise. Any ideas?
<Could be scars, scarring.... from the parasites, and/or
the medicine exposure. I would like you to do a pH adjusted
freshwater dip/bath to see if these fall off... take a look at
them under a scope... Perhaps a one-time dosing of
Prazi(quantel) (read on WWM re first please) IF worms.
Puffer air bubble? 4/23/12
Hi, Based on scouring your FAQs on puffers, I think my puffer fish (who I've
had for six years now) has an air bubble.
<Mmm, much more wrong here... the "crew cut tang" as well show signs of poor
environmental stress and mal-nutrition>
I'm not sure though since most of the FAQs suggest that a puffer can't
survive very long with an air bubble, and mine has endured this problem for
about 3-4 months now. My puffer has trouble swimming upright, and often sits
on the ground upside down now. I've tried gently rubbing his belly but
he always puffs immediately. Based on looking at the attached pics, what do
you think? Is it an air bubble? Any remedies you would
Thanks, Ethan from Massachusetts
<... re-read re Burrfish and Zebrasoma diseases... these fishes are doomed
otherwise. Bob Fenner>
porcupine puffer, env.,
I have a porcupine puffer for about year now. We recently went on
a trip for three days and two nights. While gone we had some
complications with our nitrate levels
because of the care givers. The fish tank light was on for
the whole time and we run a t8 six bulbs. We have lost
four of our fish
and the puffer is not eating any food. This has never been
a problem for him before we feed him shrimp nightly.
The puffer is now running into the side of glass, puffing up when turn
the lights on or off, swims in circles, and drags his tail or mouth on
the gravel. Do you have any suggestions on what this could be and
how to treat him.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/burrfishfdgfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Porc Puffer sore 10/3/09
Thanks again for all the help you have given me. I have what may be a
really stupid question. I have a 125 FOWLR that has 1 Porc puffer, 1
dog face, 1 Rabbitfish, 1 flame hawk, 1 harlequin tusk, and red legged
Water parameters, are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, salinity is
<... too low>
, temp 80.
Not sure the PH at the moment....I use RO water along with Prime.
<Often problematic in overdriving nitrification... e.g., do you have
with an in-sump protein skimmer. Both filter and skimmer made for 300
(Planning an upgrade next year). Anyway, not that that really matters,
I believe my Porc puffer ran into some live rock as he has a hole in
his face above his upper lip and part of his lip looks a little rough.
The hole isn't really deep and it looks like he ran into some rock.
My LFS came out last night to take a look at
him and said to just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get
bigger but he agreed with my assessment that it doesn't look like
he was bitten as much as he ran into something.
I don't have my moonlighting up yet so the tank is pretty black at
night. Could this have caused him to run into something?
<A probable possibility. Good to have some "light" on in
the room at night...>
I do not feed live food that he has to chase around. He is eating and
acting normal but being the "new kid on the block" I
currently am with marine species I'm just wondering if fish wounds
can get infected and what they would look like.
I was also told by my LFS that he seemed a little skinny (concave
belly), especially compared to my other fishes. He is very slow when
coming to his food so I will be starting to feed him more after the
other guys get their fill.
I tried this last night after my LFS guy left and he did fill up on
Mysis shrimp so his belly wasn't a pot belly but it was flat and
The other fishes had already eaten all they wanted from the initial
feeding so they pretty much left the new food alone. Could this
possibly be a sign of a vision problem?
<Another likely speculation>
Thanks for all your help.
<You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/burrfishdisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
Re: Porc Puffer sore / message recall -
Nah, that's okay. I was just thinking that it was too stupid to
<Au contraire Jill.... valuable experiences to relate, help
I watched the Porc puffer a lot this weekend. He doesn't seem
aggressive enough during feedings. He will start to wander towards a
bit of food but if any of the other fishes act like they are going for
it, he just backs up and wanders away. He does sleep with his nose
stuffed in about a 2 inch crevice in my LR. Might explain the sore.
Over feeding the tank this weekend to make sure he is getting his fill
which, I realize is going to increase my water changes and filter pad
changes dramatically. At least till I can get him up to snuff weight
wise. I am working on "petting" him to get used to my hand so
hopefully I can start hand feeding him separately in the long run.
<Try a "feeding stick" with larger food items (Krill is a
fave) attached to "hand feed" the Puffer>
As far as excess nitrate, yes I did have that problem and this weekend
I purchased something to put in my filter to help eliminate that
I don't recall at the moment but it's some sort of light weight
<Mmm, not Zeolite I hope/trust. These don't work in
I am thinking of employing a DSB in my sump along with some
Do you think that would help with the nitrate issue?
<Should greatly help>
Still doing research on that because I'm having problems wrapping
my brain around the workings of it and all.
<Take your time here... Are simple concepts once grasped...>
I just had my canopy installed along with 2 day lights and 2 actinic,
once again, not sure of any kinds as my LFS installed the lights before
delivering my canopy. I feel the actinic are too bright, so I will be
removing one so that one side of my tank will be a little darker then
After reading all the FAQs on puffer diseases, I have started to add
some iodide to the water. I have a basic test kit for ammonia,
nitrites, nitrate, calcium, pH, phosphate ....Do they have test kits
for minerals and such too?
<For some types, yes>
I don't like to add any more supplements to the tank then I have
too. What is the best way to go about increasing the salinity?
<Slowly add more saline water with changes, over time>
I top off with fresh water at the moment but maybe I should switch to
topping off with my pre-made salt water until the salinity
I thought about increasing the salt when I did my 25% water change this
week but I chickened out.
I thought it might be too drastic a change all at once.
<Mmm, not to worry. If not more than a thousandth in a day, no big
Many reef fishes pass through very freshwater at times... rain, run-off
I have lots more FAQ's reading to do and I need to start taking
notes, I just don't retain info like I used to.
<I do definitely relate>
You guys are such a blessing. Thank you so much for all your help.
Skinny Porcupine Puffer... Stunted due to... Env. and?
-- 02/19/09 Hi, <Chris> I have a porcupine puffer
(Diodon holacanthus) and I've had her for about 2 years now and she
is about 3-4 inches long at this point. <... small> I can't
help but notice that she is far thinner than most other fish of her
species that I've seen (online, in pet stores and at friends'
houses). Instead of being fuller with a slight taper towards the tail,
she has a distinct tear-drop shape with a really skinny body.
<Mmmm> I feed her 2 cubes of frozen food every other day and that
food is everything from Emerald Entre to Marine Cuisine and Brine
Shrimp. Is there something she is missing in her diet that is keeping
her from growing fatter? <Possibly... or perhaps there's summat
else at work here... Internal parasites, genetic, behavioral issues,
even aspects of environment, water quality...> Below is the
information about my tank and various levels. 55 Gallon <Too small
eventually... and this could be a source/factor... read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm > with a
salinity of 1.020. <Too low... also a poss. influence> Nitrites
and Alkalinity are in the safe range according to my test strips and
Ammonia is less than 0.25 <Must be zero... See WWM re tests... here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/mtstmethds.htm and the linked files above>
while the Nitrites are high at 80-160. <Nitrates... not NO2... WAY
too high... def. a factor... http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and
the linked files above.> Thanks <There may be others... but the
environment here is definitely faulty. Bob Fenner>
I need help! Diodontid hlth., no data or
reading 4/18/08 I have a new Burr fish puffer. He has
only been here for 48 hours and suddenly he has a bald belly he looked
a little skinny before but I thought with a little tlc I could turn him
around. What do I do? I don't think he has or had ick. I do not
have a QT, and I have alot <... no such word> of other fish.
HELP! Thanks Jen <Read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm the linked files above... on
Systems, Feeding... Bob Fenner>
Porcupine Puffer... sys.
trouble -- 4/12/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Robbie> I've
been reading the site for the better part of the day and decided
to write you in case I missed something. I've had a porcupine
puffer (Puffy) for about 5 years. He was moved into a 240 gal
tank about 6 months ago. All fish tank includes 3 triggers
(Bursa, Picasso, Niger), <Mmmm> Foxface, 8 damsels, flame
hawk. Last weekend Puffy started hiding in the cave and stopped
coming out for food around Monday or Tuesday this week. Last
Sunday I lost a mono. This past Monday I lost the other 2 monos.
I had the water checked by a Santa Monica Aquarium shop and my
"fish guy". Both found the tank elements to be perfect
- except salt was a bit low. <What brand? How low?> Odd
that the Monos - a brackwater fish died from low salt though.
<Not likely> The salt was brought back to normal but Puffy
did not improve. Today he came out of his cave and was found
floating at the top of one side of the tank. I've tried
feeding him peas (frozen, boiled, then skin removed) but he
won't take them. <Not surprising> He had air in him
earlier but my fish guy gently held and rubbed the belly and we
did see air come out, about 4 hours ago. About 1 hour ago a ton
of white stuff came shooting out of his mouth. Where he was
swimming erratically earlier he is now "bobbing" in the
upper 1/4 of the tank and barely breathing. He occasionally puffs
in some water and eventually lets it out it appears. But he just
"bobs" or sinks a bit and then floats back up. There is
no sign of ick or other external disease. <Not pathogenic at
least...> However, within the last few hours the edges of his
fins have become a milky white. <Very bad... stress signs>
On another note, my Foxface is having issues -- although I am
more concerned about Puffy. The Foxface is swimming/bobbing in
the same area of the tank. He usually is down at the bottom
picking for poop. Now his mouth is just moving rapidly as he
floats around in the 1/4 top section of the tank. Puffy to me is
the equivalent of a dog to someone else. Its killing me to see
him in pain and unable to do anything. Any idea what is going on?
Thanks Robbie <Some form of overt chronic poisoning is my best
guess... The usual S.O.P of massive water change/s, spiffing up
your skimmer/ing, the use of chemical filtrant/s, possibly a look
into the use of ozone... Something/s amiss here... could be
electrical, dissolved gas, an endogenous microbial (crash)
syndrome... But changing out water/dilution, better
aeration/filtration will definitely help. The puffer though... is
likely not going to make it. Bob Fenner> As an update to this.
Hour and a half later Puff is now at the bottom of the tank and
looks fatter in the back than normal. He is not using any of his
fins, his mouth is just open, he is darker in color, and he is
breathing slowly. <We'll see... BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer. - 04/14/08 Hey
Bob, Thanks for the response. He didn't make it :,( Robbie
<I do hope you are executing against a plan to save the rest
of your livestock. BobF>
Re: Porcupine Puffer. - 04/14/08 Working on it. The
problem is finding the problem. The puffer is the only one that
showed signs of stress. The monos just "dropped dead".
I literally watched one start acting odd and die in an hour. All
are eating, all look and appear healthy. I'm no pro like you,
but have had fish for about 10 years. Never experienced anything
like this. I'm used to seeing the disease on the fish or see
the chemical imbalance when I test. I am stumped. <Me too...
thus the very general input our first correspondence... I would
at least "complex" your system by adding a DSB,
macroalgal culture, perhaps an ozonizer... B>
Puffer. - 04/14/08 Bob, <Rob> One thing we (me
and fish maintenance guy) noticed fairly recently is this film on
top of the water. <Bad... need to "wick" off, and
provide for removal... from... food/s?> I have a center column
with flow valves on either side. Only the left side has this
"film" on top of the water. Its not dust but its this
light brown color. No idea where its coming from or what is
causing it. Maybe this has something to do with my fish dying?
Robbie <Very likely so... can prevent oxygen from getting into
solution... would explain much here in terms of who is dying
first. Bob Fenner>
Re: Porcupine Puffer dis., and Mono sel. -- 4/15/08 Hi
Bob, <Neale> Re: the guy with the sick Diodon; if I'm
reading the question right and the "monos" that
died are Monodactylus spp., then your observation of oxygen and
the scum on the surface of the tank could be right on the money.
While Monodactylus are basically bullet proof in terms of water
chemistry issues, they are unbelievably sensitive to low oxygen
tensions. Perhaps what you'd expect from a fish that lives in
the surf zone and shallow coastal seas. <Yes... my inference
as well> > If the fish are feeding fine one moment, then
stressed/dead the next, I'd be wary that the food I was
adding was too oily, and those oils collecting on the surface of
the water as a film. Usually only a problem if there's
insufficient agitation of the water. A skimmer would obviously
help, and is even recommended at SG 1.010 when keeping
Monodactylus, let alone in a marine setting. But certain frozen
foods as well as oil-rich dried foods can cause a similar scum to
form. <Agreed all the way around> Incidentally, this oxygen
issue with Monodactylus is one reason I recommend against buying
mature specimens. They don't "travel" well. Cheers,
Neale <Interesting and noteworthy. Will post to both
categories. Cheers, BobF>
Pufferfish Fading 3-18-08
Hi, We have had a porcupine puffer fish (3 in.) for a month. This
is our first brackish system and there are no other fish in our
30 gallon tank. <I am hoping that this is a Green Spotted
Pufferfish and not a Porcupine Puffer. Does he have little black
spots all over his body?> Our filter system does 250-300
gallons/hour, it can go up to 480 gal/hr. We were told to do a
20% water change once/month. <I would up this to about twice a
week if you are doing 20% or do 50% once a month.> My husband
did one last night but up until know he has been adding water
because of evaporation & checking the salinity. Puffy seems
to losing its color, he was a yellow color and now seems to be a
pale yellow/white-ish color. <Did your husband bring the
temperature up to match that of the tank when changing the
water?> I read about Ich but I can't tell if he has it.
<Doubtful, you would see white specks all over his body. It is
easy to notice.> He is also not interested in eating krill, we
feed once/day. <I would feed him once every 2-3 days seeing as
he is fairly large. Also instead of krill which when fed alone
doesn't present much nutritional value to a puffer, I suggest
getting some mussels, clams, snails and other crunchy foods that
puffers enjoy. This food also helps wear down the teeth naturally
so they do not become overgrown, making it difficult for the
puffer to eat or forcing you to do dentistry on him. Frozen
shellfish are fine as long as they are defrosted completely in
the water from the tank before feeding.> I can't tell if
his breathing is labored. Finally, he has a light red/pink
colored spot on top approximately half inch in diameter on top
three-quarters down from the head & a small red dot. It looks
like he might be rubbing himself & its irritated. <This is
possibly a wound from a scratch or a bite mark that is healing. I
would get some Melafix to help treat that.> We've seen him
squeeze behind the filter. He has happy, comes to see us for
feeding. He still seems kind of happy but is not eating. I read
that they can be sensitive to ammonia & nitrates so I'm
going to pick up an ammonia test kit tomorrow. <Get a test kit
that includes Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrites tests as these are your
most critical when it comes to puffers. Most likely he was a
little aggravated from the water change and if he still seems
happy I doubt there is anything to worry about. Puffers can
change colors depending on moods. If you do notice that he is
lethargic or has a very black belly then something is wrong. I
wouldn't worry about him not eating, he doesn't have to
feed everyday.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<If you can, get back to me on your water parameters and a
positive ID on Puffy. A picture would be great if you can take
one.> Thanks <No problem! --Yunachin> Kim
Re: Pufferfish Fading 3-18-08 Hi, Thank you for all
your advice! He's definitely a porcupine puffer fish. He
looks like the images on Google. So what I've found out after
visiting 3 pet stores yesterday is that I needed to get the tank
cycling to ensure proper nitrite levels. <Not just nitrites
but everything in between.> We didn't know this when we
started. So when we started the tank, we got the salinity stable
(2 weeks) then got the puffer fish (additional 3-4 weeks). Feel
free to correct me if I misunderstand anything, like I said
before this is our first brackish system ? <You don't want
to use the term 'brackish' as that is a lower level than
marine, usually at a salinity of 1.004-1.016, IMO.> Right now
our tank is in the nitrate phase & as expected our nitrates
are high, pH low 7.5, ammonia OK. <Use of a product called
Prime will help ease this.> I believe the loss of color in our
puffer is because he's stressed because they are very
sensitive to pH changes & not the best fish to use to start a
salt water tank :( <All fish are going to be sensitive to
fluctuations in Ph, I would worry about the Nitrite levels first
as these will affect him the most negatively.> He is the only
fish in the tank and the spot is not a spot it's actually a
brick red colored stuff growing on him, the guy at the pet store
said that it sounds like a bacteria, not surprising to him
because our pH was low. <Once again, low Ph is not your
problem. 7.4 is not bad at all and can be tolerated by the
puffer. The growth could be bacterial and treating it with
erythromycin is the way to go.> I have started penicillin
treatment & added Cycle (good bacteria to help break down the
ammonia & nitrates). I removed the carbon filter so the
carbon will not absorb the medication. <Good. When this is all
said and done, make sure to do some hefty water changes. Cycle
though; I am not a fan of. If it is not stored properly it loses
all of its beneficial properties. This could all occur even
before it comes into your hands so I always say do a fishless
cycle, it's safer and efficient. There is an article about it
on www.thepufferforum.com> I was also told to slowly raise the
pH of the tank. So I bought a buffer and added 1 treatment to the
tank. The instructions said it can take 2 days for the pH to
stabilize so I will check it tonight (that makes it 24 hr).
I'm not sure what slowly means, hours? Days? The buffer
instructions said I should add supplements Calcium & trace
minerals? Suggestions? <Instead of adding buffers and
chemicals and everything else, you can add crushed coral,
aragonite or even sea shells and it will naturally regulate your
tank without any side effects. I would go this route.> I'm
under the impression that I should not do any water changes until
after antibiotic treatment which will take 4 days. Should I do
one after that or wait until the tank's ammonia & nitrate
levels are 0 & some nitrites? If I should do a water change,
how much? Any advice on water changes would be appreciated. <I
would do a water change after the antibiotic treatment is
through. I would do 50% on day one, 20% on day two then wait a
day and do another 20% on day 4. I would then do 30-40% every two
weeks.> Also, my husband was concerned about getting the water
up to temperature, so he ended up not doing the water change but
we are aware of that. <Adding a heater to the bucket of water
for about 20-30 minutes will warm it right up.> Is 2-3 inches
large for a porcupine pufferfish? I was told that they can get
even bigger & the tank we have is not an ideal tank.
Recommended tank size is 75 gallon minimum. <These puffers
have been known to grow to 18 inches in the wild and I have had
the pleasure of seeing large ones similar to this is person. They
will get large though and a 100 gallon is recommended. Though at
3 inches right now your tank would be fine. You will have to work
on a larger tank in the future though.> I was told this could
also be stressing the puffer out. How often should I feed him?
<Every other day would be sufficient.> How many days can he
go without eating? It's been 3 days right now. What foods are
more appealing to a sick puffy? You can try a piece of krill
soaked in garlic if you do not have any fresh shrimp or mussel on
hand. Garlic is an appetite enhancer and will tempt him to eat,
but don't fret if he doesn't yet as he is under
treatment.> If all goes well I will start getting him some
mussels, snails, clams. Should I buy this from a pet store or
supermarket? How often should I give him these? <Market or pet
store will be fine. I often find purchasing them frozen then I
can pull them out and defrost them as needed. Every other day
will be fine with these as well, even every three days will be
perfect.> When should I expect to see the bacteria clear up
and if get the tank conditions under control how fast should I
see the puffer recover? <It all depends on how positively he
responds to the medicine. He should start to look up in the next
4 days or so. Do not add any more additives or chemicals to your
tank though. Let these medicines run their course, get some
aragonite/crushed coral, and do your water changes when it is all
said and done. In the meanwhile check out this link and work your
way through the information on porcupine puffers:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diodontpuffers.htm; It will help with
any other questions you may have. > Thanks Your website is
priceless. <You're welcome. Good Luck. Keep me posted on
Puffy's condition.^_^> Kim
Puffer Problem 12/20/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> Our
porcupine puffer was purchased approx. two weeks ago and was fine for a
week. <Was he placed into a fully cycled tank?> Now he has white
over his eyes and appears to be blind. He is not eating and is
lethargic. He is breathing shallow and doesn't even attempt to
escape upon being touched. We treated him with a freshwater dip for the
Ich but are not seeing improvements. Help!!!! <What
Ich? Ich cannot be treated with 1 FW dip. Please
Please post your water parameters: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate,
Porcupine Puffers... a paucity of useful info.
re dis. - 11/11/06 I have two porcupine puffers purchased at
the same time <When?> but housed in different aquariums, both
exhibiting the same symptoms, one beginning yesterday, the other
today. They have been eating well, seem to have adjusted,
then developed a darkening and swelling of the skin, which seems to be
spreading quickly. Now lethargic and not eating, within 24
hours of onset of symptoms. Treating with PimaFix and oral
penicillin. <Neither likely useful...> Do you know
what this is or what I can do? <Time to "punt"... look to
root causes... Highly likely (both) environmental... What water
quality? Filtration to spiff up?... Bob Fenner> Thanks so much!
Re: porcupine puffer? 11/15/06 thank you , yeah I
know he will out grow it but I'm just going to start with a 2-3 inch
for now then go to a 200 gallon maybe and thanks for helping me.
<Mmm, Hotay! BobF>
Puffer using one gill - 04/15/06 Hello WWM,
<Irene> I have read on your web site that sometimes when a fish
is using one gill, that this is normal behavior; it will go
away in time. I have also read that this could be a sign of
gill flukes. This is my situation: <Yes, it can be either
or....> I have an 80 gallon tank. Ammonia is 0, Nitrite
is 0, pH is 8.3, temp is 78 and Nitrate is 10. I have a
4" Porcupine Puffer, a 12" Snowflake Eel and a 4"
Sailfin Tang. I purposely keep the stock low to maximize
growing space for each fish and I know in time the puffer will need a
larger tank of her own. <This is probably too much now, I would
begin the 125 or larger tank search and saving now.> For the past
day, my porcupine puffer breathes with one gill about 95% of the
time. She uses the left gill only rarely. She
does not breath heavily and there is no sign of
scratching. She swims mainly within the bottom third of the
tank and seems active enough, especially in the morning and at night.
<Eating fine and no other issues?> Please tell me that my fish is
just exhibiting normal behavior. Is this one gill thing
common among puffers? I plan to watch her carefully for any
improvements and hope that she is just doing something funny but
normal. <Not normal, but does happen sometimes. may be a
sign of aggression on the tangs part and or stress
related. Keep watching the puffer to see if it improves or
degrades.> Thanks, Irene <Justin (Jager)>
Re: puffer using
one gill 4/18/06 My porcupine puffer is breathing
with both gills now. I do believe it was stress
related. I recently moved him from one tank to
another. <Great to hear!> The Sailfin Tang is not
bothering the puffer. However, the Tang does have a history
of aggression with a Regal Blue Tang. Both Tangs live in
separate aquaria now. (I have two 80 gallon
tanks). <Sounds like a good deal> I have a question
about Miracle Mud. I have seen it used in refugiums.
<Yes, an alternative to just DSB refugiums.> My question is can a
small bowl of the mud (kept separately in the bowl) be placed in a
corner of the main aquarium for nutrient and water
conditioning? Or would the mud spread all over the
tank? <Depends on water flow through the area where
you'd be placing it. I'm really not sure you'll
get the results you're looking for with this
though. There wouldn't be too much water flow through
the mud, which is how it counts, so I believe it would just be a waste
of time/money. Have a good one, Jen S.> Irene
Porc Puffer not
eating, lack of info... 1/13/06 We need your help. <<I
will try>> My son has a saltwater fish tank in his
house <<What size?>>...has had it for several years...all
fish are healthy.<<A list of inhabitants would be
helpful>> Except--his porcupine puffer fish has
suddenly stopped eating. It comes to the top of the
tank, all excited, wanting to eat and then just seems to
"jab" at the food. It has always had a good
appetite. He has been eating
krill. It's so
heartbreaking. At times it seems to head to the
bottom corner of the tank and gasp a
little. Anything we can do? <<What
are the readings for Ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes and pH in this tank?
Your son's puffer, Diodon Holocanthus, can grow to 19" and
will need a tank of at least 125 gallons at maturity. Does
he show signs of trying to open his mouth and is not able
to? An all krill diet has been linked to 'lock
jaw'. Essentially, your puffer needs a more varied diet,
and probably larger quarters. Often, an iodine supplement
will ease the lock jaw enough to facilitate better
feeding. Please do get back to us regarding the questions
above. Lisa>> Thank you!
Bridled Burrfish I have a full grown bridled Burrfish. In the
past few days, his antenna and some of his spines/burrs seem to be
deteriorating or eroding. The brown skin came off first and he now has
white fleshy exposed parts on the tips. The tank levels are okay. I was
wondering if this is natural to shed his antenna and burrs, like the
longhorn cowfish does? Any help you could offer would be greatly
appreciated. <Not natural... and sorry this response is so late
(have been away). Do immediately check your water quality, and if at
all possible move this animal to a separate tank (quarantine,
treatment)... For observation, isolation. It may have a parasitic
infestation, a nutritional deficiency, or there may well be something
anomalous about your water. If you can't move the animal, do make a
substantial water change (25%), be ready to do others in succeeding
days and watch for signs of stress on your other livestock. Bob
Fenner> Thank you, Lauren
Sick puffer Hi, Thanks for responding. <our
pleasure> My puffer is a porcupine puffer and he has been ill for
approx. 6 weeks. I tried to treat him with medicines in my tank, but
nothing worked so I took him to my pet store where they kept him in a
hospital tank for approx. 3 weeks treating him with Maracyn
2. One eye cleared up some, but the other eye did not
respond. <likely from natural healing... little or no help from the
antibiotic> He is now back in my 125 gallon tank with a yellow tang
and a blue damsel. There are no other fish in there, only
100 lbs. of live rock. He is eating okay, but it is
difficult watching him run into everything. Water quality
and parameters are right on in both my tank and the hospital tank, as
well as temperature. <good to hear> I am also concerned about the
effectiveness of treating such a large tank or would it be necessary to
remove him to another tank? <agreed... almost never
treat the display... does more harm than good. Best to remove to a
quite QT tank> I hope you can help. Thanks for being there to ask
questions about. It is a great relief. Leanne <I am still
very doubtful that this is pathogenic at all... it is clearly not a
parasite, and most any bacteria would have waned or
flourished after such a long time. Compound that by the very
sensitive nature of puffer eyes (our archives here are filled with
puffer eye FAQs) and the nature of the ailment. With that said... if we
are sure it is not water quality or parasite, I'm wondering if the
fish has been held captive long enough to show this symptom as an
expression of a dietary deficiency? Has this puffers diet been
restricted to just 2 or 3 items? Less? Just a few months on silversides
or feeder fish or krill almost to exclusion causes such symptoms and
deficiencies. Hmmm... do consider and send us a clear picture if you
can. What big city do you live near too? I'm wondering if we cannot
put you in touch with specialists in a local aquarium club or friends
of ours across the nation. Best regards, Anthony>
Porcupine Puffer with swollen spot... I've had my
porcupine puffer for about a month, and he has been doing great. This
morning when I got up and turned the light on for the tank I noticed he
had a swollen part on his left side ... up towards his back. It has
made it so that he can't use his top fin. I'm wondering if he
may have swallowed some air during the night or something.
<Perhaps... but much more likely a resultant symptom from the
collection, handling processes from the wild...> Yesterday at
feeding he had an altercation with an eel over some food but I
don't think he got bit. He seemed fine after the feeding.
<Hmm> What should I do with him??? <Really "nothing"
other than the "usual" of providing consistent, high quality
water, a stable environment, food... These fishes (puffers in general)
are quite "changeable", "adaptable" but do go
through marked changes in behavior (feeding, sitting about,
swimming...). Please read over the various "Puffer FAQs"
posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more here... that
will inform you, place your mind at rest. Bob Fenner> Thanks for any
help, Nathan Best
Re: Porcupine Puffer with swollen spot... Thanks for the
quick reply. I've looked over the FAQ, but didn't see anything
quite like this. I just got finished feeding everyone, and he ate fine
... but it looks like the swollen part got a little bigger ... could it
be food??? <No, very unlikely.> His color and everything
seems ok ... he's just struggling to keep from floating to the top
of the tank. <Not uncommon... resultant as previously stated...>
Thanks, Nathan Best <Bob Fenner>